The Skinny Bitch

I have a story I need to blog about!  I was standing with a bunch of women at school one day and as we were waiting for the kids to burst through the doors to greet us, we started the usual awkward talk.  On a side note, why is adult conversation among strangers/casual acquaintances often so awkward?  There’s only so much you can say about the day’s weather…yes, we are all tired of the snow and the frigid temperatures. Panic! Now what do we say?  Insert the group-grabbing of cell-phones as we are all so “Super” busy to actually talk about something other than the weather.  I’m such an awkward small-talker…I must change this.

Anywhoooo, the ladies I was awkward talking to were of all shapes and sizes.  The only reason I noticed this is because of what transpired through our conversation.  The women were talking about how they had gained weight during the Christmas holidays and how hard it was to work off.  I decided to add my two-bits as I figured we were among the same circle of women standing in the same place everyday awaiting the arrival of our same children. So I said, “I hear ya, this Christmas I overdid the Ukrainian food and my jeans are now so tight that I’m quite uncomfortable as I stand here talking to you.”  One woman, looked at me oddly and said “Well, good thing you are skinny, so it’s really not a big deal for you is it?”

In that moment, I realized she was judging me the same way I had judged other women back when I was 242 pounds.  She sized me up as one of those “skinny chicks” who could never understand what it is to be overweight or what it is to struggle with body-image.  I can say this with confidence, because I used to put women into two groups:  The Skinny and the Overweight.  The Overweight came with understanding, and the Skinny lacked understanding. I wasn’t sure how to feel when she used the word “skinny” as it’s certainly not how I view myself, but it was the way she said “skinny” like it had a rank smell attached to it.  ha ha

This was not the first time I encountered the two different sides of this “pigeonholing” fence. A friend of mine eventually told me after we became close that when she first met me she thought I was one of those “skinny bitches”.  She meant no offence by it, she was just being honest, but it really made me pause and think. It also made me sad, that at one time that’s how my perception was as well…full of stereotypes and judgments. Speaking from personal experience, it was because I wanted to be someone different.

I struggled, and continue to struggle with confidence.  I am thankful that I’ve been able to live at an unhealthy weight, and also a healthy weight for me.  I’m not making a judgement on any other person’s weight. I’m talking about my weight, because at my heaviest I had high-blood pressure which had to be controlled with medication. I also did not eat properly so I lacked energy and if there was a sickness to catch in the office, I caught it.  I don’t get sick all that often anymore, and I no longer have high-blood pressure.  To me, this is evidence of the benefits of eating healthy and exercising.

Here’s the way I am choosing to look at this issue now.  We are all just people. The women that used to intimidate me, no longer do. It’s not because they have changed, it’s because I’ve changed.  It’s not about how you look on the outside. For me, the standard of beauty comes from experiences, who you are as a person: your heart, your mind, your soul. It’s not external. I appreciate a difference of opinions. I appreciate different outlooks on life. I love when people speak their mind. Forget about conformity! Just be you!  I appreciate kind, soft-hearted people who give of themselves first. I believe that’s one of the most beautiful traits one can possess.

Now, let me take off my rose-coloured glasses for a moment and explain that I don’t think everyone is good and kind.  However, all one can worry about is their own heart and mind. The next time someone looks down their nose at you, just smile. It’s OK! Be confident in who you are as a person. Does it REALLY matter what someone else thinks of you if you know in your heart of hearts who you REALLY are? Continue being authentically you. You will attract like-minded people who adore who you are.

I’ve heard women say (and I was among those women at one time), they didn’t feel comfortable going to the gym because their fitness level didn’t match others at the gym. You know what? I finally got to a place where I didn’t care anymore!  I will lift my low-weights beside the muscular dude who lifts weights the size of my head. I will run slowly for 30 minutes beside that marathon runner who has run for over an hour (sometimes I want to stand and watch in amazement).  I will be the red-faced sweater beside that cute girl with perfect make-up barely breaking a sweat!  My butt jiggles when I run, her’s doesn’t…whatever!  It’s OK, because we are all just people! We are different, but we are also the same (if that makes sense).  We all have a right to go where ever our passions lie.

So the moral of this story: Hold you head high. You are perfectly imperfect. Listen to that inner voice that leads you to be exactly the person you were meant to be. You are stronger than you even realize. You have a gift, we all have gifts. Now, get out there and share them. 🙂

I only wish I could have realized this back then, but I guess if I knew that then, I wouldn’t have learned so much along the way.  There’s still so much to learn about life! I would say that’s pretty exciting.

I’m not a “Skinny Bitch”. I’m just me, just as I was me back when I weighed more, and when I weighed less.

From my heart to yours,


Sincere Appreciation

I have to admit, yesterday was a discouraging day for me. You know the kind of day when nothing seems to go right. I decided to try to take control of the discouragement and focus my energy on a kick-me-own ass work out and it did help.

Sometimes I’m patient, other times I have very little patience. I have no patience for the fact I have no patience. You see, I lose track of the big picture.  I want results NOW…especially if I’ve put in a lot of effort towards my goal (insert me at the mirror giving stink-eye to my muscles that aren’t defining themselves as I would expect them to). In the face of discouragement, the temptation is to throw in the towel and say screw it.  Self-sabotage then comes into play which is never good for the ole’ self-image.

At times like these, I would like to share with you a new technique I’ve learned to deal with myself.  Yes, my negative inner banter annoys even myself.

1. Think big picture. If I continue to put in the work, results WILL happen.  It may not happen as quickly as I want it to, but be patient grasshopper.  Wax on, wax off. Keep at it.

2. Never underestimate the power of a positive mind.  Shitty things happen in life. I was watching a TV show where a man was explaining to his mentor that his father had passed away years ago. He continued to mourn the loss of the relationship he didn’t get to have. His mentor looked at him and said “that’s your reality. You don’t get that. You can’t have that. It is what it is. You have to move on.”  It struck me in that moment that there are things in life one can’t change.  What good does it do to dwell on things that I can’t change?  Of course I need to deal with loss and pain, but there is also a time to give myself permission to move forward.  Time to focus on the things in life that I do have, not on the things I don’t have or can’t have because that’s just not my reality. Live in REALITY.

3. If yesterday was a bad day, well lucky for me, there is always tomorrow…which is fresh and new. And guess what, the momentum of good days are more powerful than the momentum of bad days.  That’s something to smile about right there.

4. I often remind myself to smile when my work out gets tough. I’m thankful for how alive I feel inside. The physical pain of a great workout is my body full of life…truly alive.  The smile may look forced, odd, and awkward, but it’s a smile none the less (and I do enjoy me some awkward).

5.  My actions should align with my goals.  My goals have changed over the years. When I was at the beginning of this journey, my goals were mostly about weight loss broken up into small manageable goals. Drink more water, exercise 5 times a week, train my body to appreciate the taste of healthy foods without additives, eat lots of fruits and veggies…you get the picture.  Today, many of those goals are still in place as it’s become a way of life. However, I’ve needed to re-evaluate and set new goals now that I’m in the maintaining world.  When I think about my goals, I must first think about how my actions are contributing to (or preventing me from) reaching my goals.

6. “Sincere Appreciation”: I’ve written that quote on a sticky note and placed it on my computer so I can read it daily. It’s a reminder for me to live life by focusing on the things I sincerely appreciate about those I love, and in turn reminding those amazing people of what is their truth. When you take the time to sincerely uplift others, it’s just good for both hearts.  The important part is the “Sincere” part. I believe we all know when someone is sincere and when they are not. Sincerity is a gift I see in so many of my friends and family members. It allows for connection and authentic relationships, which is a huge blessing.

The big picture is a life full of joy, love, pride, and laughter.

Please treat yourself well, just as you deserve to be treated.  Spend time uplifting those around you that you appreciate. Spread the love, it’s contagious. 🙂

I also want to thank everyone who took the time to comment over the last post. Being that it was completely out of my comfort zone to post that pic, I sure did appreciate the kind comments. You really did lift me up. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

From my heart to yours,


Today’s Woman: The Non-Airbrushed Variety

I was surfing the web and came across a couple of photos of celebrities who were featured on magazine covers.  These covers have obviously been airbrushed.

Kelly Clarkson’s cover caused quite the controversy back in 2009.  “My happy weight changes,” Clarkson says in the September issue of SELF. “Sometimes I eat more; sometimes I play more. I’ll be different sizes all the time. When people talk about my weight, I’m like, ‘You seem to have a problem with it; I don’t. I’m fine!’ I’ve never felt uncomfortable on the red carpet or anything.”  Yet, her cover was obviously airbrushed which I believe she had little control over.

Editor-in-chief of Self Magazine, Lucy Danziger defended the magazine cover. People reports:

“Yes. Of course we do retouching,” Danziger writes in a post on “Did we alter her appearance? Only to make her look her personal best.”
Calling Clarkson “the picture of confidence,” Danzinger writes, “I think this photo is the truest we have ever put out there on the newsstand.”

What?! “Only to make her look her personal best”…are you kidding me?  How is this her personal best if she doesn’t ACTUALLY look this way?!  What a crock! Am I supposed to stare at these magazine covers and wish I looked just like them?  If so, I best be opening my Photoshop folks, cause it’s going to take a lot of airbrushing.

I am a Mom of 3. I have a daughter. The idea that the media promotes airbrushed images as a standard of “beauty” is disturbing.  These images are not even REAL. Models are expected to fit a size 0. In reality, the vast majority of today’s women are not a size 0.  I feel an immense responsibility to show my daughter what the true measure of beauty is, and it comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  At the same time, I also want to show my daughter what a healthy lifestyle is all about.  A lifestyle of balance, activity, and healthy natural foods. Of course there is always room to enjoy a little dessert too…balance. 🙂

Here is my reality.  I will be turning 35 years old next month.  I have 3 children, and I’ve had 3 c-sections.  The heaviest I have ever been was the day I gave birth to my second son, which happens to be 122 pounds heavier than I am today.  I started the path to lose the weight a few months after I had my second son. From the day I officially made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle, I weighed in at 242 pounds.  Today, I am 150 pounds which means I have lost 92 pounds.

Because of this fact, I have stretch marks and I have extra skin. There is nothing, short of plastic surgery, that will change that. It doesn’t matter how much I work out…you can’t work off extra skin.

Again, I’m going to do something completely out of my comfort zone but I’m going to post a picture of MY belly. The belly that carried around my beautiful kids. At times I am self-conscious. But, in posting this I hope to be less self-conscious…if that makes sense. Because it’s real. It’s obviously not airbrushed. It’s who I am. You can see the lines of my 3 babies who I loved before they were even born and who I dreamed about before they were even conceived. This tummy is a story of where I’ve come from and where I am today.

When I went to Jamaica, I never thought I would actually wear a bikini on the beach. What amazed me when I got there, was that the sunbathers on the beach didn’t care what their bodies looked like. In fact, I actually felt completely at peace with my body. I felt good about myself.

This has been on my mind a lot lately as at times I look in the mirror and pick apart the areas of my body I wish I could change.  Then I snap out of it when I remember that my goal through changing my lifestyle is to be HEALTHY. To be vibrant, full-of-energy, and to hold within my heart a zest for life which involves the mind, body and spirit.

I have spent far too much time in my past struggling to accept the person that I truly am. It’s time to let go and just embrace it. I’m not defined by the size of clothes I wear, or the number on the scale. That really has nothing to do with who I am.

My perspective today is that…

Confidence is beautiful.

Authenticity is beautiful.

Vulnerability and honesty are beautiful.

Sincerity is beautiful.

We are not perfect like the airbrushed Magazine covers, but perfection isn’t reality and thank God for that.

Perfectly Imperfect. We are who we are. View yourself through the eyes of those who love you most.

Be kind to yourself.



From my heart to yours,


A Tribute to my Sister

A few times through out my blog, I have mentioned my sister Janice. She has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and has lived with this horrible disease for many years.  Today, she has limited mobility and has a hard time remembering recent events. Ask her about our childhood, and she remembers everything. At family gatherings, she loves to be where the action is. Because of how MS has affected her mind, the anger she’d carried with her for years as her MS was progressively worsening, has now turned into a state of happiness (for lack of a better term).  She laughs a lot when we are together, and I’m not sure if she realizes the full extent of what has happened to her mind.

I see my sister as two separate people now. The Janice before MS (and at the beginning stages of MS), and Janice now…after years of living with MS.

Below: I took this photo in August of 2010. I love this photo because her eyes hold so much joy and compassion.

Because many people see Janice as she is now, they forget or don’t know who Janice was before the MS.

I want you to know who Janice was when she had her health.  I am not taking away from the amazing parts of who Janice is today…I just want to pay tribute to the amazing woman Janice was when I was growing up.  When I say she “had” or she “was”, there are still parts of that personality that lives within Janice.  But I need to use these words because MS has taken so much from Janice.

Janice was full of energy and she loved people. She didn’t like being alone, she always surrounded herself with lots of people. She had a selfless giving heart. She volunteered often within her kid’s school, her community, and her church.  I remember going to visit her in Fox Creek. When I arrived, she showed me to my room. She had purchased magazines she thought I would enjoy, bought me flowers, and had bought all the fixings for home-made subs. We built them together as my nephews played in the living room. She had the whole week-end mapped out with lots of activities which included nightly and morning walks. She loved to walk, she loved to run.

She lived for her boys, for her husband, and for God. She was uplifting and encouraging….always encouraging. She was empathetic and sympathetic.  She was quick to tears if she saw another hurting.  She laughed a lot. She smiled a lot. She talked a lot. ha ha! She used to ask me and my sisters to follow her around the house as she worked so she had someone to talk to. When I think about the sister I knew growing up, I see Janice with a huge smile. A vivacious woman who was always on the run. She loved every minute of that hectic lifestyle as she always gave so much of herself to others without ever expecting one thing in return.

She lived life with so much joy and an infectious energy.  She definitely was an energy-giver.

She loved to bake. She worked in a bakery for a while, and made the most delicious cakes. She made special birthday cakes for her boys, with intricate piping.

She also knows sign language (and to this day she remembers). She worked with hearing impaired youth.  She was also a teacher’s assistant as well.

She lived for others, not for herself. The reason I felt compelled to tell you about Janice today, was because as I was looking through old boxes in storage downstairs, I came across this letter. She wrote it to me in the days after I was dealing with the traumatic event that happened at camp when I was a teenager (click here to read about the event I’m referring to).

When I found this letter, it was like finding a treasure. To read the words of Janice before she had MS was amazing.  It broke my heart to read that she was asking me for forgiveness for the relationship issues we had growing up. There were years in between us, and because of this we grew up at different times, but I was the one that should have been asking for forgiveness. I was a bratty, angry teen. Forgive me Janice, I always looked up to you and respected you. You always showed me love and support. You had, and continue to have a huge part in shaping who I am.  Today, when I go for a run I think of you. I think of how you loved to run and how you would give anything to be able to run again.  Thank you for all you have taught me about life.

We all have times when we take our health for granted. My sister has taught me to never take it for granted. If you can run, then run. If you can walk, then walk. If you can share, then share.

If you can raise your children with the freedom of having your health and you are able to teach them, show them love, and how to live a life full of joy…then teach, love, and live with a grateful heart.

Below: Janice, August 2000.

I love you Janice.

Before I hit publish on this post, I phoned Janice and had a nice chat. I’m thankful for the relationship we have today…full of love, laughter, and respect. I read her the letter I found and she said through laughter “That was a nice letter I wrote you Chris, wasn’t it?!”  Yes it was my dear sister. Thank you.

From my heart to yours,